By Simon Chapple

My name’s Marina Gask and I’m sober-curious. There, I’ve said it and hopefully no one laughed. Always an enthusiastic socialiser, in the last few years, especially since the menopause, falling out of love with alcohol has been a gradual thing. I can’t be doing with the anxiety, the self-reproach, the jowly face and ‘wine neck’ and most of all the hangovers. But surely giving up alcohol means giving up fun?

I read this book after interviewing its author, Simon Chapple, for an article I was writing. Apart from sounding like the happiest man in the world, it was when he told me “We mistakenly give alcohol the credit for those moments when we have the most fun” that my curiosity was piqued. The Sober Survival Guide goes into this and all the other ‘yes, but’ reasons we can’t possibly manage to live a fulfilling life without ever having alcohol. And it’s pretty damn convincing.

Chapple is an ordinary bloke who drank too much from a relatively early age. He drank because he thought it was cool and because it made him feel like the life and soul of the party. But it turned him into someone he didn’t like. Giving up has made him so much happier in every way that it’s really worth hearing him out. His advice on socialising, on friendship, on relationships, on holidays and on sexual confidence when alcohol no longer plays a part may sound a bit too good to be true, but the rise of the sobriety movement tells us we can be happy without happy hour. Using his own experiences and quotes from members of his huge Facebook community, Chapple makes a very convincing case for the alcohol-free life.

Have I given up alcohol? No, but I no longer feel the urge to binge. Observing how it feels to be sober while out with extremely drunk people – as Chapple advises – is a total eye-opener. Once you’ve seen this, there’s no going back. If you don’t want to give up alcohol, don’t read this book.

Marina Gask

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